Healthy Dad = Healthy Kids

Climbing like a monkey

Climbing like a monkey

In an article by Nicola Conville, ‘Dads determine child obesity’, on Body and Soul:

“A recent Australian study has found having an overweight father quadruples a child’s chance of being overweight, even if they have a mother of normal weight.”

The study looked at more than 3000 two parent families over a four year period. Weight was looked at when the child was 4-5 years and when they were 8-9 years old.

It is interesting to note that if the mother is overweight and the father is normal or skinny, it does not seem to matter, the change happens when the father is overweight. Interesting don’t you think!

As the article states when the father at the dinner table refuses the vegetables or some other food, then the children follow. This can make it very hard to have kids eat good and nutritious food. In my situation we eat very well and the kids don’t eat the good food. I do try and hide it in other things to make sure they get what they need. It is very hard with fussy eaters. Maybe hypnosis might work with the fussy eating issue…Just a thought.

Parents need to be careful of what behaviours they are modelling for their child. If you don’t eat a particular food, chances are your child might not want to as well. This has flow on effects, if you don’t exercise or participate in any sport or exercise the child will not want to do so either.

If the family is active together this shows the child that it is fun and a part of life, not a chore and something to hate. If it is integrated into what the family does it is a normal part of family time and will be adopted by the child as a normal thing.

In the article it has great suggestions for getting more active with kids, here are some of mine:

  • Go for a bush walk with the family, why not take a picnic?
  • Walk to the shops if it is close by. Take the pram if the little kids get tired. You can always stop at the park and let them run around and have fun. (in the article but we do it too)
  • Go swimming with the kids.
  • Do yoga or some stretching or activity at home.
  • Fly a kite. (in the article but we do it too)
  • Dance to music.
  • Get involved in a sport, running, soccer, or anything that your child might be interested in. We will aim to do that next year as we have tried soccer and that did not work, little athletics seem to take people next year so we will see.
  • Games in the backyard, tag or anything that is active.
  • Play dates with the kids friends; they end up running around and playing more especially if you go to a park or if you have a good backyard.

What are your thoughts about this study? I do agree that if the child sees you not eating a certain food or doing something they will copy you. It is what is taught and you need to teach, do and model with the right foods and behaviour. However this sometimes is hard when you have a person who does not follow your good eating habits and exercise ideas. Also a treat every now and then is o.k if in moderation; well that is what I think. You don’t want to make your kids feel like they are missing out.

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4 Responses
  • ziggi
    December 4, 2012

    Yes, children learn by following the leader and positive examples are far more valuable than preaching. But also acknowledging that you’re fallible shows that you’re human.

    But I don’t agree with your statement that “You don’t want to make your kids feel like they are missing out.”. What are they missing out on? A future of diabetes and heart disease? Just because modern food agribusiness delivers you certain options, it doesn’t mean that they’re good options. I’m all for treats and everything in moderation, but even those treats can be wiser options.

    • Suzanne
      December 4, 2012

      Hi Ziggi, thanks for your comment and I do agree that they learn by example and following positive examples. I don’t think giving a treat here and there of say chocolate or the like is going to give them diabetes. My kids hardly ever have sugar and it is in moderation so not to show that it is fine to have all the time. We as a family eat a lot of well rounded foods and eat treats sparely. I do agree that even treats could be made a healthier option. I have been working on that lately also. I give fruit and yoghurt as well to treat the twins. I hope you don’t think that I am saying that they are missing out on the bad, I just don’t want them to feel that they are not having something that the other kids are having and we as I said do this sparely so that it is valued treat or if they do have any of those sweets it is at a friends birthday party. I grew up not having nearly any sweets and we tend to binge when we went to other kids houses that had sweets, so I would like to make sure that they don’t go overboard, eat well and factor in exercise into their lives.

  • ziggi
    December 4, 2012

    For me it’s not the treat that’s at the base of it, it’s the content of said treat. We crave sweetness because it gives us quick energy, something our cave person ancestors rarely had access to other than seasonal berries and fruit. When they found it they gorged because it was a limited time offer. This primal instinct hasn’t gone away and the problem is that people often do this on a daily basis. I feel that a bit of chocolate here or there is fine, a lolly once in a while is fine (although I loath the processed sugar component of it), but not getting into a habit of expecting these things… that’s the trick!

    • Suzanne
      December 4, 2012

      Ziggi, yes I agree with you. I am hesitant to give the girls the highly processed sugar sweets as who knows what chemicals and additivies are in there. I am going to even start to make my own cake mixes and stash them away for ease of use. Once I have the time without uni I will make a batch. I am also going to go through all other foods that we have and look at what is in the ingredients as we have noted some additives that are not good for all of us and have removed these products from our life. It is a hard trick to master going without a sweet treat here and there, but I know it can be done.

What do you think?

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